All schools in England have a Governing Body which is responsible for overseeing many of the strategic decisions. A key role is to act as a ‘critical friend’: to support, to challenge, to ask questions, ultimately to represent the school community.
At Sphere Federation, the Governing Body works in close partnership with the Head of Federation, Heads of Schools, staff, the Diocese of Leeds, and the local authority. Whilst the Head of Federation along with the Heads of Schools are responsible for the day to day running of the schools within the federation, the governors are involved with such things as staffing, curriculum, school buildings and finance. It ensures all the schools function well and maintain the proper range of academic and social objectives. Governance of the schools within Sphere Federation continues to evolve in order to meet the additional demands placed upon schools by Covid-19.
The Governing Body of Sphere Federation consists of:
- The Head of Federation
- One elected staff governor
- One appointed local authority governor
- One foundation governor appointed by the Diocese of Leeds
- One foundation governor ex-officio
- Two elected parent governors
- Seven co-opted governors
Current governors are listed here with a brief profile of their role as governor. (‘Register of interests’ includes business and financial interests, other governance roles, and material interests arising from close relationships.)
The standard term of office for a governor is four years. The chair and vice-chair are elected annually at the first meeting of the academic year.
The chair of governors is Mrs Rachel Greenhalgh, who can be contacted via the school offices at Scholes (Elmet), St James’, or Mootown, or directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The role of Sphere Governing Body is key to the effectiveness of the federation and of each school. Whilst the Head of Federation, along with Heads of School and other leaders, are responsible for the day to day running of each school, the governors are responsible for strategic decisions, including:
- Setting the vision, ethos and strategic direction for each school and for the federation as a whole;
- Holding the Head of Federation to account for the educational performance of each school and its pupils;
- Overseeing the financial performance of each school and ensuring money is well spent.
The Governing Body meets four times each year (minimum). Much of the work of the Governing Body is done by committees which meet at least every term (three times in the year). At Sphere, we have the following committees.
- Teaching, Learning and Children: Its main purpose is to ensure that Sphere Federation schools are all happy and healthy places to learn. To do this, the committee’s work centres around two main areas: a high quality education delivered to all pupils so that each pupil reaches their full potential, and safeguarding to ensure every child is kept safe. The committee will monitor, evaluate and challenge about matters such as the curriculum (to make sure it’s broad and balanced and meets statutory requirements), the pupil premium and PE grants, attendance, behaviour, and spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) provision. An important role of the committee is to ensure that all safeguarding policies are fully understood and correctly implemented by all staff.
- Resources: This committee’s main purpose is to ensure that spending for each school remains within budget and that all funds are spent wisely to best meet the needs of the pupils. Although it meets every term, there are additional review meetings with the local authority finance officer. Like the Teaching, Learning and Children committee, an important area of work for the committee is safeguarding: the health and safety practices and policies in place at each school site is part of this committee’s remit.
There are also committees for Policies, Performance Management and for Pay, although these meet less frequently, and a Christian Distinctiveness Group (St James’ only) regularly meets.
In September 2016 a new Governing Body was formed in keeping with statutory guidance from the Department for Education when Moortown Primary joined the existing Federation of Scholes (Elmet) Primary, and St James’ Church of England VC Primary. The new federation was named Sphere Federation. The number of governors was reduced and appointed on a skills basis. Current members of the Governing Body of Sphere Federation are listed below.
If you want to be part of Sphere Federation’s Governing Body please enquire about any vacancies by contacting the Chair of Governors, or David Roundtree, the Head of Federation. For guidance and advice about being a governor, visit Leeds City Council website, or find out more and sign up to be a governor at Inspiring Governance.
Our Governor Handbook provides useful information for our governors.
Read the 2019-20 Annual Governance Statement.